About the Decolonial Disability Studies Collective (DDSC)

Welcome to the Decolonial Disability Studies Collective (DDSC) Lab! DDSC is a collective body of knowledges, theories, and praxis produced by disabled and non-disabled scholars and activists across intellectual/activist spaces. Drawing on different colonial and imperialist spaces in and across the global South and North, this lab will provide you with an alternative way of engaging with and connecting different forms of knowledge, perspectives, and praxis that are decolonial, interdisciplinary, arts-based, and community engaged. Our projects are contextually distinctive and transnational. We believe that the transfer of Western disability studies (DS) from the North to the South has been uncritical, and even problematic, because it privileges theories and discourses from the global North.

To put theory and praxis from distinct global Southern spaces into conversations with North American and Western Eurocentric disability studies, and to unsettle the ‘colonial matrix of power’ (Mignolo & Walsh, 2018) framed through this process, DDSC focuses on building relationships, knowledge, and agency with young people with disabilities, including women and girls with disabilities in colonial and neo-colonial spaces in the South. We also build decolonial relationships with partners, including Disabled People’s Organizations (DPOs), disabled academics, and activists from the global South. Finally, we engage with scholarship in critical disability studies, girlhood and childhood studies, post-colonial and decolonial studies in the creation of what may be called decolonial disability studies – an alternative body of knowledge, theory, and praxis that aims to unsettle hegemonic forms of knowledge production in Western disability studies.

The Decolonial Disability Studies Collective supports four evolving research projects; each of which does a substantial job in shaping our decolonial approach to Disability Studies.

With the wealth of expertise in interdisciplinary and decolonial disability studies that our research team members from different intellectual spaces in the global North and South possess, we hope the conversations and actions initiated by our team members, including young leaders, scholars, DPO partners, graduate and undergraduate students, and disability activists within this intellectual/activist network will put decolonial disability studies into conversations with Western disability studies while creating new forms of collective learning, engagement, co-existence, and transformation.

We hope that DDSC will be a unique and innovative space that will open up new opportunities for engaging researchers and partners in this important and often overlooked area of study.

Xuan Thuy Nguyen, PhD
Associate Professor & Project Director
Engaging Girls and Young Women with Disabilities across Southern Spaces
(ENGAGE) Project
Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies
Carleton University